Music: Wind Walker by John Serrie
A Wyandot (Huron) Legend
Many years ago the world had two parts. Animals lived in the lower part, which was completely covered in water and had no land or soil. Above
was the Sky World, where the sky people lived. The Sky World had lots of soil, with beautiful mountains and valleys. One day a girl from the sky
World went for a long walk and became very tired.
"I'm so tired, I need to rest," she said. She sat down under the spreading branches of an apple tree and quickly fell asleep. Suddenly, there was a
rumbling sound like thunder and the ground began to crack. A big hole opened up next to the apple tree.
"What's happening?" screamed the frightened girl. She tried to move but it was too late. She and the tree slid through the hole and tumbled over and
over towards the watery world below.
"Help me! Help me!" screamed the girl. Luckily two swans were swimming below and saw the girl tumbling down from the sky. "Come on!" yelled
one swan. "Let's catch her before she hits the water>" "Okay!" yelled the other. The swans spread their wings together and caught the girl on their
soft feather backs. "Whew! That was lucky," said the girl. "But what do I do now? I can't get back up to the Sky World and I can't stay on your
"We'll take you to big Turtle," said the swans. "He knows everything." After hearing what happened, the Big Turtle called all the animals in the water
world to a meeting. He told them an old story about soil being found deep under the water. "If we can some of that soil, we can build an island on
my back for you to live on," said the Big Turtle.
"Sounds good to me," said the young girl.
The Otter, Beaver and Muskrat started arguing over whom would dive for the soil. "I'll go," said the sleek Otter, brushing his glossy fur. "No! I'll
go," said Beaver, slapping the water with his big flat tail. "I'm the best swimmer," said Muskrat, "I'll go."
"Aaaachooo!" sneezed the young girl. "Guys, guys, would just one of you go. These swan feathers are getting up my nose and making me sneeze."
"Sorry," said the swans.
"That's alright," said the young Sky girl.
^Then Toskwaye the little Toad popped up out of the water. "I'll go. I can dive very deep," she said. The other animals started laughing and pointing
at Toskwaye. "You! You're too small and ugly to help," cried the others laughing.
"Be quite!" said Big Turtle in a loud, stern voice. "Everyone is equal and everyone will have a chance to try." The sleek Otter smoothed his glossy fur,
took a deep breath and slid into the water. He was gone for a long time before he came up gasping for air. "It was too deep," he said. "I couldn't dive
"Now it's my turn," said Beaver. He slapped the water with his tail as he disappeared. After a long time he came to the surface again. "It's too far,"
he gasped. "No one can dive that deep." Muskrat tried next and failed.
"Aaaachooo!" sneezed the young girl. "This is not looking good."
"Now it's my turn," said little Toskwaye the Toad. She took a deep breath and jumped into the water. She was gone a very long time and everyone
thought they wouldn't see her again.
Suddenly Otter pointed at the water, shouting, "Look, look bubbles!" Toskwaye's small, ugly face appeared through the water. She spat a few grains
of soil onto the Big Turtle's back, then fell back into the water -- dead.
The Turtle ordered the others to rub the soil grains and spread them around on his shell. The grains grew and grew, until a large island was formed -
big enough for the girl to live on. It grew into our world, as we know it today. And the descendants of the Sky girl became the Earth's people.
Today, some people say the whole world still rests on Big Turtles back. When he gets tired and changes his position, we have earthquakes.
Toad has not been forgotten either. American native Indians call her "Mashutaha", which means "Our Grandmother". No one is allowed to harm
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|Huron Creation Myth
A Wyandot (Huron) Legend
In the beginning there was only water and the water animals that lived in it.
Then a woman fell from a torn place in the sky. She was a divine woman, full of power. Two loons flying over the water saw her falling. They flew
under her, close together, making a pillow for her to sit on.
The loons held her up and cried for help. They could be heard for a long way as they called for other animals to come.
The snapping turtle called all the other animals to aid in saving the divine woman's life.
The animals decided the woman needed earth to live on.
Turtle said, "Dive down in the water and bring up some earth."
So they did that, those animals. A beaver went down. A muskrat went down. Others stayed down too long, and they died.
Each time, Turtle looked inside their mouths when they came up, but there was no earth to be found.
Toad went under the water. He stayed too long, and he nearly died. But when Turtle looked inside Toad's mouth, he found a little earth. The woman
took it and put it all around on Turtle's shell. That was the start of the earth.
Dry land grew until it formed a country, then another country, and all the earth. To this day, Turtle holds up the earth.
Time passed, and the divine woman had twin boys. They were opposites, her sons. One was good, and one was bad. One was born as children are
usually born, in a normal way. But the other one broke out of his mother's side, and she died.
When the divine woman was buried, all of the plants needed for life on earth sprang from the ground above her. From her head came the pumpkin
vine. Maize came from her chest. Pole beans grew from her legs.
The divine woman's sons grew up. The evil one was Tawis-karong. The good one was Tijus-kaha. They were to prepare the earth so that humans
could live on it. But they found they could not live together. And so they separated, with each one taking his own portion of the earth to prepare.
The bad brother, Tawis-karong, made monstrous animals, fierce and terrifying. He made wolves and bears, and snakes of giant size. He made
mosquitoes huge, the size of wild turkeys. And he made an enormous toad. It drank up the fresh water that was on the earth. All of it.
The good brother, Tijus-kaha, made proper animals that were of use to human beings. He made the dove, and the mockingbird, and the partridge.
And one day, the partridge flew toward the land of Tawis-karong.
"Why do you go there?" Tijus-kaha asked the partridge.
"I go because there is no water. And I hear there is some in your brother's land," said the partridge.
Tijus-kaha didn't believe the bird. So he followed, and finally he came to his evil brother's land. He saw all of the outlandish, giant animals his
brother had made. Tijus-kaha didn't beat them down.
And then he saw the giant toad. He cut it open. Out came the earth's fresh water. Tijus-kaha didn't kill any [more] of his brother's creations. But he
made them smaller, or normal size so that human beings could be leaders over them.
His mother's spirit came to Tijus-kaha in a dream. She warned him about his evil brother. And sure enough, one day, the two brothers had to come
face to face. They decided they could not share the earth. They would have a duel to see who would be master of the world.
Each had to overcome the other with a single weapon. Tijus-kaha, the good, could only be killed if beaten to death with a bag full of corn or beans.
The evil brother could be killed only by using the horn of a deer or other wild animal. Then the brothers fixed the fighting ground where the battle
The first turn went to the evil brother, Tawis-karong. He pounded his brother with a bag of beans. He beat him until Tijus-kaha was nearly dead.
But not quite. He got his strength back, and he chased Tawis-karong. Now it was his turn.
He beat his evil brother with a deer horn. Finally, Tijus-kaha took his brother's life away. But still the evil brother wasn't completely destroyed. "I
have gone to the far west," he said. "All the races of men will follow me to the west when they die."
It is the belief of the Hurons to this day. When they die, their spirits go to the far west, where they will dwell forever.
|Why the Leaves Have Many Colors in Autumn
A Wyandot (Huron) Legend
The wise men turned to him who wrote. Then they looked at the trees on many hills. It was autumn. The leaves had many colors. They said, "We
will tell you the story of the battle fought by the deer and the bear in the land of the sky."
the bear was selfish and proud. He often made trouble among the Animals of the Great Council. When he hears that the deer had walked over the
Rainbow Bridge into the sky land he was angry. "I WILL PUNISH THE DEER," he said.
The Bear went to the Rainbow Bridge. He leaped along its beautiful way of glowing colors. He came into the sky land. There he found the Deer and
said to him; "This sky land is the home of the Little Turtle. Why did you come into this land? Why did you not come to meet us in the Great Council?
Why did you not wait until all the Animals could come to live here?"
The the Deer was angry. Only the Wolf might ask him such questions. The Bear had no right to speak like that to the Deer.
The Deer said to the Bear, "You have gone about making trouble among the Animals long enough. You shall never do that again."
The Deer said he would kill the Bear. He arched his neck. He tossed his head to show his long sharp horns. The hair along his back stood up. His
eyes blazed as if a fire burned in them. He thought to slay the Bear with a single stroke of his terrible horns.
The Bear was not afraid. His claws were very strong. He stood erect for the mighty conflict. His deep growls shook the sky like rolling thunder. The
struggle was terrific and long. The Bear was torn by the cruel horns of the Deer.
When the remaining Animals of the Great Council heard the awful noise, the Wolf went up into the sky to stop the dreadful battle.
All the Animals had to obey the Wolf. So the Deer turned and ran away. And the Bear fled along the paths of the sky. As the Deer ran, the Blood of
the Bear dropped from his horns. It fell down to the Lower World and made the leaves of the trees many colors. Some were Red, some Yellow, some
were Brown, some Scarlet, and some Crimson.
Now each year when the Autumn comes the leaves of the trees take on these many colors. The forests are flooded with soft and glowing beauty. The
Wyandots then say the Blood of the Bear has again been thrown down from the sky upon the trees of the Great Island.